Other than the name, Kuhn saved all the technical details of the rubber tracked Karl concept until Agritechnica opened its doors yesterday.

One of several new autonomous machines at the German show, and one of the most expensive R&D projects ever for Kuhn, the 175hp Volvo hybrid four-pot engine in Karl provides all the electricity needed to power the driveline and rear mounted kit, (700v system) which on the machine at the show is a modified 2.5m Kuhn power harrow.

Rear lift capacity of the 8.5t machine is 5.0t and the front linkage lifts a respectable 3.5t. Track width is 34 or 45cm, speeds vary from 3-15km/hr and the 2.5m wide vehicle is driven onto a trailer when moving between fields. The capacity of the fuel tank is said to be sufficient enough to allow the machine to work for eight hours.

The handful of prototypes already in existence will be joined by a few more next year as Kuhn looks to pile on the hours and try it in different conditions and with other tillage kit and possibly a drill. The hopper will be a discussion point. Do they fit a large seed/fert hopper or opt for smaller ones. The issue with this is the logistics of refilling them, possibly requiring some sort of automatic infield system.

Back to the current machine, which completed 200 hours of tests this year near the factory in Saverne. The machine works like a tractor following GPS guidance lines (a supervisor is needed in the field). The next stage will be to add a full package of sensors, cameras, and LiDAR to detect obstacles and blockages of the implement to allow it to work truly autonomously.

The firm stresses that these are not yet developed, but is should be the easy bit, considering it has already gained quite a bit of experience in this area with its Aura TMR feeding robot.

The plan is to get a few Karls out with selected farms in 2025, and our tip is to expect to see a machine kitted out with all the necessary safety sensors, etc, and with a different front and rear kit at the next Agritechnica in 2025. Kuhn is understandably cagey about when Karl could make it to price lists, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen by the next show in November 2027.

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